The Travels of Tug 44

Barred Owl

Barred Owls are seldom seen as they are mostly nocturnal and tend to hang out deep in the woods, though they may come out to hunt on gray dark days. I got this photo, and the next one, in late afternoon on a rainy day in November 2016. The name comes from the "bars" (horizontal stripes) on their upper chest.   high-res

After a few minutes, this Barred Owl flew across the road and perched on a low branch in a ravine by a stream, this time showing me his back side. In this shot, his head is turned backwards, 180 degrees. Beautiful birds, the Barred Owl.   high-res

November 2018, I met my 2nd Barred Owl in the wild. It was hunting mice and voles from a utility wire by the side of a busy road in Fort Edward. The traffic seemed not to bother it, but I thought my being too close would cause it to fly away.   high-res

... when to my astonishment, the Barred Owl did fly, but he flew to a tree right next to me, and then continued hunting.   high-res

The Barred Owl was now watching the ground directly below his perch, not 50 feet from me. I had only my long lens with me, so I backed up to get all of him in the photo.   high-res

And then a small break in the clouds improved the available light so I was able to get a few shots that showed his colors a lot better. The light was still poor, so I had to use a very slow shutter speed and that prevented me from getting any good flight photos.   high-res

Here's a closeup of the Owl. I have noticed one oddity, his right eyebrow is higher than the left one, and all the Barred Owls I have seen were like that. The eyebrow is actually part of a ring of stubby feathers around the face which directs sound to their ears, so this oddity may have something to do with their exceptional hearing.   high-res

My last shot of the Decemeber 2018 Barred Owl as the light begins to fade again. What a wonderful creature!   high-res

January 2019, we were coming home and spotted this particularly lovely Barred Owl as she flew right in front of my car, and almost got hit by an 18-wheeler coming from the other direction. This was in heavy rush-hour traffic but she landed right by the side of the road and started hunting the ditch. We zoomed home, grabbed my camera and she was still there when we returned. In spite of all the buffeting from the huge trucks, she completely ignored them ... but the instant I clicked my camera shutter, her head whipped around and she stared right at me. Here she is playing peek-a-boo!   high-res

Here she is again, in a typical Barred Owl hunting position ... she is looking straight down. In the few minutes we were there, she nailed several tasty little rodents, yumm yumm.   high-res

The Barred Owl, one of the more elusive birds.

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